Commentary Essay, Research Paper

While reading the September 1999 issue of Social Work: Journal of the National Association of Social Workers, I came across an article entitled ?Symbolic Interactionism, African American Families and the Transracial Adoption Controversy?. It was written by Leslie Doty Hollingsworth PhD, the assistant professor in the school of social work at the University of Michigan. The article claims that by using symbolic interactionism, it can be seen that African Americans are a unique and distinct cultural group and therefore adoption of African American children by families of a different race should only be allowed as an absolute last resort. I object strongly to this proposition and plan to use symbolic interactionism to show just the opposite.

In the fall of 1972, the National Association of Black Social Workers passed a resolution about trasracial adoption. It was written, ?Black children should be placed only with Black families whether in foster care or adoption?. In my opinion it is ridiculous to put conditions on where a child up for adoption can and cannot be placed. These children have already left the ideal and cannot be with their birth parents. To limit their possibilities for a full and happy life further is cruel and unreasonable. It would be great if every child up for adoption could be taken in by people with a similar racial background to the birth parents, but that is not always the case. A child should be placed in a home in which they will be provided for, regardless of skin color. Would the people of the NABSW rather an African American child give up a chance at a good life just because the people who want to give it to them have different ancestors? The next line of the resolution reads ? Black children belong physically, psychologically and culturally in black families in order that they receive the total sense of themselves and develop a sound projection of their future?. In reaction to this, interracial relationships and families are on the rise and cultures are starting to learn and accept one another more. So what should be done with interracial babies, only let an interracial couple adopt them? And how are children supposed to ?receive a total sense of themselves and develop a sound projection of their future when they are being bounced from home to home? I feel that it would be easier to adjust to being a black child adopted by a white family than being a black child without a family at all. The resolution also states, ? Human beings are part of their environments and develop their sense of values, attitudes and self concepts within their own family structure?. I agree with this statement, but how can this be done without a family. And a family is a family, regardless of the members skin color. It goes on to say ?Black children in white homes are cut off from the healthy development of themselves as black people.? (Simon & Alstein 135) In argument to this, children who do not have a home are cut off from healthy development of themselves at all. Also, more importantly is developing as a person, not a black person or a white person.

In conclusion, if the tables were turned and a white family refused to adopt a black child it would be considered racism, so why is this different? In today?s society there are so many different types of family there is hardly a norm anymore. Although it may be a rough adjustment and hard for a child to understand, with the proper love and guidance that child could become very well adjusted. No one is stopping this child from looking into their heritage, and no one says necessarily that a black family would support the culture. If someone is willing to take a child into their home, their skin color should be the last thing that people are worried about.

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